Sit back, Relax and Enjoy the Company of a Hundred Strangers in the Best People-Watching Spots in Beijing.
People watching is about more than just seeing the fantastic and unique styles that Beijing locals and visitors sport. It’s also a fun way to get a taste for the colorful mix of cultures that make China such a wonderfully diverse country.
The best people watching spots let you do more than look. They also offer you opportunities to observe the hustle and bustle of city life, meet others, or simply spend a day enjoying live music and delicious food. Here are eight places where you can watch and experience Beijing’s blend of cultures:
1. Sanlitun Bar Street
Are you looking for an exciting mix of daytime shopping and vibrant nightlife? Look no farther than Sanlitun Bar Street. This cosmopolitan road is a favorite for both locals and travelers. Bring plenty of money because the shopping here is top notch, with the most high-end options to the north.
2. Wangfujing Street
This street is great for people looking for souvenirs, as well as anyone who misses the flavors of their home country. It has both chain restaurants including KFC and Starbucks and a vibrant street food scene. The vendors here offer everything from tasty fried egg rolls to, for the adventurous, scorpions on a stick. It’s a nice place for shopping and people watch.
3. Houhai Lake Bar Street
For a change of pace, head over to Shichahai Lake. This is a beautiful place for an afternoon of people watching, strolling past the many restaurants dotting the area, or cooling off with a tranquil boat ride on the lake itself. If you can, try to visit at night when the neon signs reflect off the water creating a colorful wonderland.
4. Nanluoguxiang (Hutong area)
This area may be close to the traditional Forbidden City, but Nanluoguxiang has a very youthful and modern energy. You can spend all day people watching to see how the trendy, younger generation expresses themselves. Duck into the hutongs (alleyways) in this area and you will find a mix of 800-year-old architecture and modern construction from when Nanluoguxiang was refurbished for the 2008 Olympics.
5. Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park is where locals go to relax. In this 23 hectare park next to the Forbidden City, you’ll find people of many cultures coming together to build a community around common interests like kung fu, tai chi, dancing, and playing chess. You can watch people, enjoy singing opera and stick fighting, or try your hand at some of the games.
6. Qian Men Shopping Area
This famous pedestrian street is perfect for a relaxed stroll. You can people watch while appreciating its 600 year history. The hostels and budget-friendly eateries in the area attract crowds of students and backpackers who love to linger at the pleasant outdoor tables and benches. If you’re looking to have a conversation or make a friend, this is a great place to start.
7. 798 Art District
Beijing has a vibrant art scene where the new generation pushes the boundaries of the imagination with creative paintings, scupltures, and more. You can watch people and take in the art at the cluster of galleries in this art district. Don’t miss the outdoor exhibits that showcase some of China’s best modern art.
8. Temple of Heaven Park
The Temple of Heaven is a vast park for both locals and tourists. It is located about six kilometers southeastern of the Forbidden City. It is a great place to watch people. You’ll find crowds of Beijingers taking shelter in the awnings, practice their Tai Chi moves, old folks dancing, and holding impromptu singing sessions. The park is vast, and you should be prepared for a long walk.